Look at your Business in 4-D

How to look at your business in 4-D      10387545_10205008433272517_7602179920738938783_n

Yesterday I took an introductory flying lesson (a gift from my children). I was flying a single engined Grob C115A aircraft; a great little plane even if it has a slightly unfortunate name. As we taxied for take-off in very wet and blustery conditions, my instructor sorted the necessary permissions from the control tower for ‘Charley-Alpha-Charley’ with “two souls on board” and then he told me that while he would be doing the take off and landing, I would be doing all the flying once we ‘got up there’…YIKES!!!

The take off was a little bumpy (and sideways!) and we were soon at 1,000 feet. My instructor told me to take the wheel and proceeded to watch as I took over the flight. I was flying the aircraft. I could hear Air Traffic Control informing unseen aircraft to be aware of ‘Charley-Alpha-Charley’ in their area. Even though I couldn’t see them, all of a sudden I became conscious of a 360º world around me. As my instructor got me to climb to 1,500 feet, then 1,700 feet, turn left & right and descend, I was expected to do so while maintaining my altitude, speed and keep to specific headings. I also had to account for the blustery wind that had a tendency to blow the little plane sideways as I aimed for “a path between that town and the smoking stack on that factory”. It was a fantastic experience.

After we landed we had a de-brief where I noted that it was a much more complex task than I had imagined. This complexity related to the fact that I had to deal with additional dimensions while we were ‘up there’ that I don’t have to deal with in my land-based life.

So why have I recounted a flying experience in a blog for businesses?

I believe what I experienced in flight is something that many business owners fail to recognise and deal with when managing their businesses. My experience over the Kildare (Ireland) countryside gave me real experience of a 3- and 4-Dimensional world similar to that which affects all businesses. However, I believe many businesses still operate in a relative 2-Dimensional environment.

When I lecture my Business students, I like to use Porter’s 5-Forces model to highlight how the world outside a business can affect the operation. As a Supply Chain consultant, I am immensely aware that a business MUST operate in a world that is outside the ‘bubble’ of its own operation. My flying lesson gave me first hand experience of this.


The 2-D view:   10172824_10205008433832531_3860120190076205256_n

From a business sense, I see the 2-D view as the traditional view we get when driving a car (yes I appreciate that our world is a 3-D environment, but bear with me). When we drive a car, we can go forward and backward, turn left or right only. We cannot move vertically and, unless we drive off a cliff, we cannot descend vertically, so we operate on a flat plain; 2-D. In business, this means that we focus on our own little bubble and it’s direction. Our decisions are designed to get us to a destination, somewhere out there, elusive. Just as in our cars, we become cocooned in our business world as we drive on to our destiny. Sometimes we are forced to take a detour, which can knock our confidence or slow us down, but we remain in our cocoon.


The 3-D view:

At a minimum, I believe we need to stop being a driver and become a pilot for our business. We need to become aware of the 360º environment that we actually operate in.

In air travel, planes travel in virtual corridors and, as long as they stick to their corridor, they will always be separate to other aircraft. However, in order to ascend or descend, they must pass through other corridors. In the busy world of air travel, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) manage the movement of aircraft as they operate in this 360º, multi-level environment.

In our business world, we don’t have the benefit of ATC to help us so we must keep our wits about us. We must become mindful of what’s going on around our businesses. We must look outside our ‘bubble’. To do this we must allow ourselves to stop what we are doing and ‘glance outside the window’. During my flying lesson, I was instructed to line the nose of the aircraft with a point just below the horizon and then keep moving my gaze from the altitude and angle of flight gauges (the internal references) with the horizon (the external references) while, at the same time, looking out for specific landmarks (“fly between that town and that factory stack”; “fly towards that lake”) and other ‘businesses’ (aircraft) operating in the area.

From a flying experience, this was suddenly uncomfortable. At times I felt that I was now being tossed a lot of additional balls to juggle; manage the internal operation, focus on a direction ahead of me, and be mindful that there are external influences operating above, below, in front of me, behind me and on either side of me. Some of these external factors could be smaller (not many), most were bigger and virtually all were moving faster and at different speeds to me. For a moment, I felt like a very small cork floating in a very big ocean. I believe, many businesses feel the same way, particularly micro-enterprises that consist of one or two people (the pilot and co-pilot).

Taking the 3-D view is an uncomfortable experience if a business owner hasn’t previously taken the time to look outside his/her bubble. However, I believe it is absolutely vital to success. To begin with, it provides you with two additional directions to help overcome obstacles. Where previously one would only have had the options to go left or right to get around an obstacle, the 3-D route now allows us to go over or under an obstacle.

Another key element, I believe, in taking a 3-D approach to your business lies in the fact that we get to become more aware. We become aware of what’s going on ‘out there’ that could have an impact on our business; that sudden ‘gust of wind’ that could knock us off course, the ‘crash avoidance’ manoeuvre we must make to avoid a ‘collision’. We also become aware of where others are in relation to us and our business which gives us additional information that can help in our decision making. Finally, using the 3-D approach, we can see our route and, more importantly, we can set up ‘weigh-points’ on route to our destination (we might even see our destination in the distance in the same way the pilot can see the airport approach and landing lights as s/he prepares to land at his/her destination). When we focus on the instruments (the internal stuff) we end up effectively flying blind.


The 4-D view:

Albert Einstein theorised about time and space and 4-D seeks to add the element of time to a 3-D world. If we add time to our flight, we become more focused on the destination and the duration it will take to get there. We may need to establish a series of weigh-points (check-points) that we can use to gauge our progress. In lower-tech small aircraft, the focus of any flight is to use visual references from the landscape in order to maintain direction and arrive safely at the destination. Focusing on the internal instruments will not give you this information so while we will know our speed, height and that we are flying level, how will we know where we are and when we arrived? Using the 4-D approach, we can aim for the necessary weigh-points and then focus on the next weigh-point, and the next, and the next until we arrive to a final approach and landing. We can use our knowledge of how long it has taken us to get from one point to another to map our route and identify any possible issues before they become ‘life threatening’.

In business, everything is time. “Time is money” is a popular phrase thrown about. Focusing on time, while we concentrate on internal processes only, doesn’t necessarily get us to our destination, it just gets the task at hand done. Without the benefit of external (3-D) referencing, how will we know we have succeeded and not over-shot our destination or, worse still, been blown off course?


So what does all this mean?

I believe that in order to be successful, we need to move from a more internally focused 2-D business approach to the more complex and holistic 4-D approach. Yes we must focus on getting our product/service/business ‘off the ground’ and for that, we must focus on our ‘instrument panel’. However, once we are in the air, we need to become much more spatially aware. We need to look to our horizon and establish weigh-points along the way to keep us focused on our direction. We need to make sure that we make the necessary ‘course adjustments’ to compensate for the external influences that can ‘blow’ us off track. We also need to become aware of the existence of others ‘flying’ in our area who may cross our path.

Being aware of the additional corridors provides us with additional options to grow/climb with our business (we are not tied to the path/corridor we currently find ourselves in). By being time aware, we can focus more on the destination and getting there rather than focusing our attention on the gauges (internal elements).

Focusing on the destination helps us manage our time and effort (fuel). Many business owners complain of “running out of steam” on their journey. In some cases, this is the result of too much of an internal focus rather than having a view of the route and destination. A pilot monitors his/her fuel and combines this knowledge with a view of the destination in order to ensure that they successfully arrive. This is done with the additional support of a continuously updated plan to safely land in the case of an emergency. If we focus on the internal elements of our businesses only, we might see that we are running out of fuel but, in such an emergency, when we look out the window to find a landing spot, we might find we are not over suitable territory for a safe landing. The result; crash and burn!!

Today, take time out to check out your business environment. The gauges (product, service, process) are all there for you. Become aware of what’s outside. What ‘gust of wind’ is trying to blow you off course? What other ‘traffic’ is in your area that you need to be conscious of? Find some weigh-points that you can use to ensure you are on the right course. If you need to, don’t be afraid to consider climbing (or descending) to another flight level (corridor) which might be more beneficial.

You are the pilot of your business ‘aircraft’. ATC gave you permission for taxi and takeoff with one or two souls on board. Whether you accept it or not, YOU are now operating in a 4-D environment. Your business is subject to external factors that you MUST become more aware of and manage (by changing direction, climbing, descending, speeding up or slowing down). Sometimes you may even have to divert around an issue before you can get back on track. Again, if you are too focused on the internals (gauges) you might find yourself in the middle of the storm instead of seeing it coming and taking evasive action.

Flying (just like managing your business) is a complex task that requires constant monitoring and management while making adjustments to maintain direction, height and speed. It is also one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have.

Strap yourself in, throttle up and climb to your success!!

Language for Success

How Clean Language can deliver superior results in the Coaching Relationship

I recently met a fellow Coach. We were discussing our respective businesses and the difficulties we were having. As the conversation progressed, I became more aware that instead of listening to what I was saying, challenging my beliefs and perspective, she was offering me direction. She was saying things like “Do you know what you should do now?” and “You need to…” It got me thinking on how she works with her coaching clients.

A Coach is not supposed to offer advice. It isn’t their job and it isn’t ethical. A Coach does not live in the client’s world, has not had the client’s upbringing and does not filter the world in the same way as the client. In short, the Coach is not the Client. As a result, the Coach is in no position to offer advice or recommendations. By offering direction, the Coach removes the responsibility from the client to achieve their goals. If the decisions or actions don’t come from the Client, why should they implement them.

In reality, the Coach should remain completely separate from the situation and s/he should do or say nothing that might in any way influence a Client’s decision process. In other words, the Coach should ‘Watch his/her Language’.


One of the most potent tools I use when working with clients is Clean Language. Clean Language is a concept that was devised by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees. In essence it is a process that uses completely non-directive language which challenges the client to arrive at his/her own solutions with zero influence. It is a remarkably powerful tool that really pushes the client to take responsibility for their own destiny and arrive at options, solutions and a perspective that works for them.

In reality we meet colleagues, peers, friends and family who all want to help and advise us. However, with the best intentions in the world, they can only tell us their experiences from their perspectives and from the set of variables that affected them. They are not necessarily the same criteria that are affecting us. As a result, there is a danger that we try to implement the solutions that worked for someone else. If they work, it is more by accident than by design. More often than not, though, they don’t quite work out. What does that do for us?

It makes us feel more stressed, more depressed and more anxious that the ‘solutions’ aren’t working. We may begin to blame ourselves or think our situation is beyond repair “Sure it worked for X so if it isn’t working for me, my business must be so much worse than I imagined!” Nothing could be further from the truth. What has happened is that you have simply tried to apply a solution for a different problem to your situation; WHICH IS NOT THE SAME PROBLEM!!!

It might be similar in some aspects, but the problem is not the same.

Many supposed Coaches fail to apply a Clean Language approach when dealing with clients and in so doing, they move from Coaching to Mentoring offering a solution that may (or may not) work.

Using Clean Language speeds up the coaching process. Why? Because it puts 100% of the focus on the client’s specific issues and, as is the Coaching process, it allows the client identify his/her own solutions, goals and actions.

If you want to experience Clean Language and see how it can have a dramatic effect on you and your business, contact me at info@innochansol.com

‘Who can help me?’

So, you have set up your own business.

You have a great product or service.

You have completed a Start Your Own Business course.

Now what?

It is a common complaint/worry that I see and hear about from Irish Entrepreneurs on an almost daily basis. Just look at the various SME groups on social media. You will see numerous questions from people who have set up their own business, have hit an obstacle and have nowhere to go to find an answer. While these social media groups are extremely useful and can answer many questions, I can’t help but feel that something is missing for small and micro-enterprises which would help them drive their businesses forward.

You see one issue that I am conscious of when I see people offering advice is that, while they have the absolute best intentions to help the person asking the question, they are offering advice from their own perspective not that of the person with the issue. This hits two problems:

  1. The advisor is generally not in the advisee’s business so the dynamic might be different, the problem might be slightly different. This means that the advice given has to be broad in scope to ‘hit all possibilities’ in the hope that there is a nugget of information that will help. I call this the Scatter-gun Approach. From the advisees perspective, they can run into further trouble if they blindly try to apply the advice received which can further drop them into despair and frustration in their business. I have no doubt that many businesses have folded, because the advice they received was wrong for their situation and, rather than resolve the issue, it drove them deeper into trouble.
  2. From a Neuroscience perspective, the advice might be offered in a format that doesn’t reach the advisee, for example “what’s your gut telling you?” will be harder to react to for a person who is driven more by their heart than their gut. It might sound silly, but it has been proven that we communicate differently and consequently the advice we offer will be based on our own primary drivers rather than those of the advisee.

So how can you, in your small or micro business get the help you want?

In short, I believe business owners of today need access to Coaches, Consultants or Mentors who can help them with issues that are individual to their organisations. The problem is finance. Most cannot afford to hire the services of a fully qualified and experienced Coach, Consultant or Mentor and even if they can afford it, the market in Ireland is so crowded with ‘professionals’ that there is a huge fear of the quality of service that will be received. Many of the ‘professionals’ out there today, do not provide a professional service. They have not been trained, are not insured and effectively have zero background, experience or qualifications to help.

Some time ago I wrote an article which offered advice on what you should look out for when considering the services of a Coach, Consultant, or Mentor. You can find the article here. But all that will give you is a guide to hiring a professional who ACTUALLY IS a professional.

So let’s assume you get access to the services of a professional Coach, Consultant or Mentor, what can they do for you?

As a one-person operation myself, I know how hard it can be to drive your business forward on your own. There are little or no back ups to your decision making process. Everything stops with you. You have to deal with the ups and downs on your own. Social media groups such as #IrishBizParty offer great support and a certain amount of help, but I believe a Coach, Consultant or Mentor would offer you so much more.

To begin with, a Coach will not tell you what to do; it’s not their job. Immediately, this accepts the fact that your business is YOUR BUSINESS. The coach is not a staff member. They do not work for you or in your organisation. They do not know the dynamic of you or your organisation, but they know one very important point; YOU DO!!

The role of a Coach is to question, challenge and help YOU to come up with resolutions to the issues YOUR business has encountered. Assuming they have business experience, a Coach (with your permission) can become your Mentor and point you in a direction to help you overcome the obstacles you face. The ultimate goal is to help YOU identify and overcome YOUR business issues in a way that is relevant to YOU and YOUR business, i.e. a tailored service to you.

Let’s look at the second issue highlighted above; communication. A properly trained Coach, Consultant or Mentor will already understand the importance of communicating with a client in the client’s preferential way. Applying the new Coaching process of mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) helps the client to access all of their body’s Intelligences/Brains to help them tap into the different abilities of each. You can find out more about mBIT Coaching here. (Remember, InnoChan Solutions is the ONLY company in Ireland currently qualified to offer mBIT as part of it’s Coaching, Consultancy and Mentoring services).

So what does all this mean to you, sitting in your office (or at the kitchen table), trying to overcome a business problem (or even a personal issue of motivation)?

Social Media groups are a great first step to getting an answer or support. However, if you find you are still ‘stuck’ or you don’t want to publicise your issue through Social Media, but you want to continue with your business, then you need to seek support. You need to contact a suitably qualified Coach, Consultant or Mentor. Just remember to check their credentials and ability first. Your business success depends on it!!!

For my part, InnoChan Solutions is teaming up with #IrishBizParty to offer its members the very facilities discussed above at extremely reduced rates to help SMEs and Micro-enterprises deal with the issues that they have encountered so that they can drive their businesses to success. Just to deal with an issue raised above in relation to being suitably qualified, you can check out my qualifications, experience and other credentials here.

Being your own boss, need not be a lonely journey. Many CEOs of the biggest companies in the world use the services of a Coach to help them with their decision making as well as business and personal issues so that they can stay focused and at the top of their game. Why can’t you?

CEOs have hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of people driving their businesses for them. You have YOU. Surely you need the support of a Coach in your corner more than they do.

So here are some questions;

  • do you want your business to succeed?
  • do you want support to overcome issues specific to your business?
  • do you feel lost after completing the SYOB programme?

Then, as they say in the Ghostbusters movie; “Who you gonna call?”

Are you afraid of Success?

Question: Do you REALLY want your business to be successful?

Or are you just telling yourself that you do?

If you believe that you REALLY want to be successful, but are not as successful as you would like to be, then it is very likely that the reason for your lack of success is YOU!

I have met many people (myself included) who have blamed their lack of success on external factors such as government, competition, economy, etc., etc.

In reality the reason for your lack of success lies in how you react to the circumstances you find yourself in with your business and, I believe that for many entrepreneurs this lack of success stems from the entrepreneur, not the environment.


  • How are you reacting to your competition?

Believe it or not, many small business owners become so engrossed on what the competition is doing that they forget to actually do something with their products which their competition hasn’t thought of, something that would give them the edge, but they can’t see it. We become so focused on ‘the competition’ that we don’t see our market.

Here’s a cold hard fact; the reason your competition is successful is not because they are better than you, it’s because they aren’t focused on you! They are focused on their customers and meeting their customer’s requirements. I remember many years ago watching a documentary on training captains for Nuclear submarines. At one point while on exercise, the trainee became too focused on a trawler that was innocently fishing in the exercise area that he neglected to spot the whopping great battle cruiser which was bearing down on him. Needless to say, he was removed from the test. It’s the very same for business people; if you focus on the competition, you are not focussing on your customers. So how can you possibly attract customers let alone meet their requirements (or know what they want)?


  • Do you really have the passion and determination to succeed?

Some business owners believe they have the passion to succeed, yet fail to take any action to drive their business forward. Instead they continue to look for the ‘magic formula’ that will make them “the next big thing”.

Big shock!…There is no secret formula!

Someone once said “there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” Success takes hard work. No short cuts allowed. So let’s think about this. mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) notes that, in order to be successful and effective, we must align our three intelligences; Gut, Heart and Head.

I believe we establish our businesses through our Heart Intelligence (the seat of values, beliefs and passion). However, we find it hard to align the other intelligences of the Head (logic, thought, creativity, etc.) and Gut (drive, action, etc.)

The result? We think we have the passion and determination to succeed, but fail to engage completely in our business. When things don’t work out, we blame out products, the economy, our family, etc. etc. In fact, we rationalise the lack of success on external factors instead of ourselves.

Have you ever wondered how some businesses in your sector are performing well (or at least, seem to be), while your business is struggling? Believe me when I tell you, that it IS NOT because you are bad and they are good. It’s more likely to be because they have managed to align their passion with creativity and action AND focus all of that on the customer rather than anything else, including you.


  • Do you have a fear of success?

Hard to believe but some business owners like playing ‘the victim’. They are empowered by negativity. They like to complain about all of the things that are affecting their success. Of course they never complain about the real cause for the lack of their success; themselves.

Boil it all down, many business owners are afraid of being successful. They don’t know what they would do if their business became successful. In fact, they don’t know how they will recognise when they have achieved success.

Being successful would mean that their business has attracted clients. It means that the business owner will have to raise their game and actually deliver their promise to customers while their competitors try to challenge them. It may mean the business will have to expand and, what was once a one-person operation will now need to hire staff. In reality, being successful is a very exposed position to be in. It can be a terrifying experience. Realising your success and taking your business to a new level means, in many cases, that you are leaving the one-person control environment and really stepping into the business world. At least that’s the perception. Can you handle it?

What does success mean to you? Specifically!

Have you ever written it down? Why not?

If you don’t know what success means to you, how can you possibly know when you have achieved it?

Maybe you are already successful but because you haven’t worked out what success is for you, you haven’t realised it. So you continue to stress and worry while dreaming of the success you already have.

So here’s my challenge to you;

  • Get a sheet of paper and a pen
  • Write down these questions:
    • “What does Success mean to ME?
    • How will I know when I have achieved it?
  • Now write down your answers to these questions.
  • Pin the sheet to a wall where you work and refer to them regularly.

If you cannot achieve success, consider some coaching to align your three intelligences through mBIT Coaching (contact info@innochansol.com for more information).

Success has to start with the self! There is nothing to stop you.


Responding to Typhoon Haiyan a Logistics Fiasco…or Am I missing something??

I have been involved in Supply Chain Management at every level for almost 30 years. Most of this time has been spent in the FMCG sector and I have had experience at all levels of the Supply Chain (most in a Management capacity). I now lecture and consult with businesses on various aspects of SCM.

When I lecture students (would be Supply Chain Managers of the future) I continually encourage them to look outside their industries at the other things going on in the world. I suggest that they continually survey the global horizon to see what’s going on and to pay particular attention to anything that might affect their ability to meet their customer’s needs.

In my instructing on this concept, I highlight many examples ranging from 9/11 to hurricanes to wars, in fact ANYTHING that will potentially affect the efficiency of their supply chains. My point is to get them to build and develop flexible and adaptive supply chains. The importance of a flexible supply cannot be overestimated when many in business today are seeking to develop Lean processes and World Class businesses.

My experience in the FMCG sector has proven the need for flexibility and adaptability. The very nature of the industry; Fast Moving, highlights the need to be able to overcome ‘blips’ in the supply chain and maintain service levels.

With the importance of flexibility and adaptability a focus of many in the commercial world, it has mystified me that the world’s reaction to the Humanitarian crisis caused by Typhoon Haiyan appears to have been so inefficient.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I cannot understand how it took almost a week to get aid to affected areas especially when the world knew the Typhoon was coming AND that it would be one of the biggest ever experienced.

Satellites were tracking the typhoon from it’s birth. As a global community, we knew the path it was taking and, knowing how strong it would be and the conditions where it was due to hit land, it was not a stretch of the imagination to speculate on the amount of damage that would be caused.

Yet, apart from trying to evacuate people from its path, very little appears to have been done to organise the aid supply chain. In fact, after the event, I saw an interview with a member of the International Red Cross who explained the delay in getting aid to affected areas by saying that after the disaster, the IRC would send in inspectors to audit the area and only after these people reported back would aid be organised. I find this incredible if true.

Surely, the global relief supply chain should have being moving aid into staging points outside the path of the Typhoon (or even follow the path of the storm). That way, relief materials would have been closer to the affected areas and on the ground much earlier than almost a week after the event. I saw one news report on the BBC where an RAF transporter left the UK on Friday 15th bound for the Philippines. The reporter said that the supplies wouldn’t arrive in the Philippines until Saturday 16th; a full 8 days AFTER the devastation.

I know that some will argue that what aid is required cannot be identified until after the investigators have gone into the affected areas and conducted their surveys. To this argument, I say that the relief needed in any disaster of this magnitude is always the same; Food, Water, Medical Supplies and Shelter. Surely even organising these supplies would be of benefit.

Typhoon Haiyan is not unique in this failure of relief supply chains. I recall similar complaints from those affected by Hurricane Katrina in the US and more from those affected by Superstorm Sandy.

So how do we get it so wrong?

Why does it take so long for supplies (aid) to get to the customer (victims of a natural disaster). I appreciate that earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. happen without warning. However, Hurricanes, Typhoons and Superstorms are known about and seen as they grow and strengthen. While the focus, correctly, of many is the evacuation of people from the path of such storms, I believe the knowledge of such storms and their paths should also trigger the global relief supply chain.

When the strength and direction of a storm is known and, when damage, death and despair is a certainty, surely materials should start moving. Key relief materials should be moved to staging posts close to, but outside the path of storm areas. Alternatively, materials should be routed to follow the path of a storm (storms rarely go into reverse!).

Supply Chain Management teaches the need to manage a supply chain to ensure products are available for the customer as and when the customer needs them. In a disaster scenario as seen in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the products in question are the basics needed for survival; food, water and medical supplies. The customers are the people affected by the storm. Those whose houses and villages were levelled. Those left without aid for almost a week.

Why were basic SCM processes not implemented?

In my mind, there is no logical answer…Or am I missing something??

Can a QR code benefit your business?

(This article first appeared in the Small Business Owner Magazine)




“So what do you know about them QR code things?” This is a question I have been asked on a number of occasions. The question is usually followed by “they’re only a gimmick, aren’t they?” Personally, I don’t think these clever barcodes are a gimmick. In fact, they can be a huge benefit to your business. Read on to find out how.


The ‘Quick Response’ (QR) code started in Japan in 1994 having been developed by Denso Wave. Unlike the more traditional barcodes you see on retail products (which are licenced by GS1) the QR code is an open source code in the sense that the developers have not exercised their patent rights over the code spec. So what are QR codes? (here’s the science bit).


The QR code is a form of 2-Dimensional bar code (not to be confused with the GS1 Datamatrix 2-D code). The easiest way to tell these codes apart lies in the fact that the QR code (on the right below) contains three black squares in boxes on three corners of the code, while the GS1 Datamatrix (on the left) has a solid black right-angled line on the left side and base.


A QR code has the capacity to hold large amounts of data in a very small space. In general 2-D codes are more risilient to damage than traditional barcodes on retail products and come with inbuilt error correction.



The science is fine, but why should you consider one for your business?


Because QR codes are effectively an open source product, they are very cheap to optain, very flexible in their uses and can be scanned by your customers using an App on a standard smartphone. Remember, it is not whether you like them or not, the important point is whether your customers would benefit from using them.


According to a 2012 article by businessinsider.com almost 700 million smartphones were bought in 2012 and that number is expected to exceed 1.5 Billion by 2016 (three years time). The simple fact is that more and more people (including your customers) are buying and using smartphones. People like having immediate access to information through their smart phones and, I believe, by not providing them with access to information about you through QR codes, you will be increasing the risk of lost business. Remember, customers do not want to waste time trying to key in URL addresses on their phone. People love the convenience of a ‘point and shoot’ technology that allows them access to the information they want. QR codes will do this.


In order to scan a QR code, your customer will need to download an APP to their smartphone. Both the IOS and Android systems provide hundreds of QR Scanner Apps, the majority of which are free.


So what uses can QR codes have?


  • Probably the most basic use for QR codes is where they have been used to drive traffic from adverts, products, flyers, brochures and business cards to the company website or other relevant information.
  • DIY stores, use QR codes in their promotional materials to take users to instructional videos to help select equipment and materials
  • Restaurants use QR codes to give clients access to menus
  • Funeral directors add QR codes to Headstones at cemetaries to give visitors access to memorial web pages for the deceased
  • Retailers use QR codes to provide offers and discounts for customers
  • QR codes can be used in museums, galleries and tourist attractions to provide visitors access to information, saving money in developing audio or pre-printed guide materials
  • Foods producers and retailers use QR codes to provide customers with recipes to use their produce.
  • One retailer in Japan has a virtual supermarket set up on the platform of a station where customers can shop by scanning the QR codes on the virtual shelves and get their groceries delivered to their home.



In fact the possible uses for QR codes are only limited by the imagination of the businesses that use them.


Do I use QR codes?


Yes, I have two on my business cards to provide access to my websites.


Would I recommend them for business owners?


Yes. QR codes are a fun way to interact with your customers. If Smartphone sales are increasing, then more and more of your customers will have the equipment.


Can you afford ignore it?


No. QR codes are very cost effective. Sometimes free and there are no licence fees to be paid. Once you generate your code, it’s yours. Just point it at the URL you want and you are done. One point of caution though; if you are looking for QR codes, make sure you get High Resolution codes. They tend to offer better reproduction and scanning rates.

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